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Author Topic: Freelance Trombone Playing Query  (Read 43869 times)
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Sanctification in Progress

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"Professor 'Add Junk'"

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« Reply #60 on: Jan 03, 2012, 04:32PM »

Well, my "freelancing" landed me right in the middle of playing with some really fine artists (like former UNT 1 O'Clock Lab Band trombonist).....and some other musicians who are recording artists.

Yes, I will be joining this church because of the quality of music, but also, it has inspired me to become a better musician. Pay is up in the air (non-existent).....fortunately, I have a retirement that is providing a stable income until 2015, as an airline pilot (if that doesn't go bust); hence...my point....

Freelancing is a gamble.....you better have the right connections in the union, if you want paying gigs. Period. Plus, you need to supplement your income with something reliable, like LOCKSMITHING! Be smart. These times are hard on musicians that seek a living strickly as thus. And even those who are making a living at it will tell you......get a job that will guarantee a living for you when the "music died". Unfortunately, it will probably get more dicey before it gets better!

Kindest regards, and BLESSED DAY!!
Retired Pilot, Instructor,
Freelance Low Brass DFW Area

Miraphone Soprano, Shires .547 TruBore, Michael Davis .495, Bass dependent TruBore
DE Mouthpieces/Giddings-Webster

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« Reply #61 on: May 23, 2013, 07:57PM »

A great thread to read especially for tose coming out of college/graduate school. Lots of great info from pros that have been doing freelancing for years.

Thanks for the wisdom and advice.


Jeremy E. Smith
Founder and Editor, Last Row Music
Bass Trombone, Huntington Symphony Orchestra
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« Reply #62 on: Jul 29, 2013, 12:26AM »

Such great comments, I would like to use some of them as part of my section on professionalism on my site at: http://ericburger.org/pro.htm

I would love to hear any additions you all may have to my list, or at least share some of that that has helped me keep playing over the years. Below is the text from my site.

It is possible to have a very successful career in music, and not be the best player around. It is also  possible to be the best, and to never get called for gigs. I have often worked far more than guys much better than me, and I know it is because of my professional attitude and behavior that has made the difference. If you want to be a success, follow these 10 rules and could also happen for you!

1.  Be Early. Not just when it is convenient - but every time. No matter what the traffic is like, no matter what happened the night before or what’s going on with your car. And if you might not be early, let the contractor / director / band leader know as soon as possible. Without excuses. If you are always early, and then end up being late once, you will be forgiven. If you are just on time or occasionally late, you will need to find a new job.

2.  Be in the Correct Uniform. Your clothing should be clean and pressed and appropriate for the gig. If you do not know what the attire is, ask. If there is no way of knowing, bring a few possibilities. Don’t travel in your performance clothing. Always try to look like a professional (yes, this includes rockers…), and always better to look a little too good than to be the slob on stage.

3.  Be Prepared. Make sure your instrument is in good repair, and have extra reeds / mouthpieces / strings, even if you do not need it. Always have all the mutes, cables, stands or anything else that you could use. Have a microphone, a tuner, a metronome, or anything else you use for you instrument.  Bring doubles or alternate horns when it might be needed and on every recording gig.

4.  Be Ready. Know your music. Really know it. Spend more time than you need. If you are a singer, know your words. Make sure your chops are up to the task. Know what you are playing for, and who will be the audience. Check up on the contractor / director / band leader get to know them.  Be rested, sober and have a good attitude.

5.  Be Helpful. Help load in other people’s equipment (drums, PA, amps). Help make sure the stage is ready. See what you can do for the contractor / director / band leader to make the gig go smoother. And, most importantly, don’t be a bother or get in the way if your help isn’t needed.

6.   Be Excited. You are playing for money – what could ever be better than that? Be happy about the stage, the food, the drinks (or lack there of), the audience, and the rest of the band. Like it so much that if you have to play overtime, you will do it just for being asked (let the contractor work out overtime pay). Never complain to the staff of the site you are playing at.

7.  Be Grateful. Make sure the contractor / director / band leader know that you are very pleased to have gotten the call (doesn’t matter if you are not), and how much you would enjoy another call anytime. This is very important.  Even if you would never play with the group again, do not tell them – just be booked already when they call. You will never know how often the best gigs come from people you wouldn’t work for on a good referral. Always be pleased to meet everyone, and say goodbye with nice comments to all when you leave. Give out your card freely, and take other in return.

8.  Be Willing. Many successful careers started when musicians where willing to play for little or no money to get a foot in the door. Play gigs outside your comfort zone. Take chances. Sing if you are asked (even if you suck – let them decide).  Perform your heart out. Dance (if appropriate).

9.  Be Joyous. Love everyone in the band, and they will love you back. Love the audience, and they will also love you. Be the nicest person in the room. Laugh at the stupid jokes. Never talk bad about anyone there or in any other group. Have fun.

10.  Be Responsible. Stay sober. Do not trash the place. Pack up your gear right away, and then help anyone else who may need help. Pay for any food or drink as required. If you need to get a sub, find someone much better than you, and pay them out of your pocket if necessary to make up their price. Leave with the last people, and double check the stage or dressing room for other peoples stuff.

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« Reply #63 on: Dec 22, 2013, 06:29PM »

Thanks for the post, its great

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« Reply #64 on: Jul 06, 2014, 03:48PM »

Great advice. Thanks!

Bass Trombonist
Des Moines Symphony
Orchestra Iowa

Sam Cockrell Band

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